We talked with Michael Lyden from Nottingham to find out more about the 100 Homes Campaign and how it has grown out of unified prayer in the city of Nottingham.
What is the 100 Homes Campaign?
The story begins with Nottingham City Prayer. This is how it started:
4 years ago Steve Silvester, an Anglican city centre minister, was on Sabbatical and felt God speak to him about gathering the churches of Nottingham. The call was for 3 things: Christ’s church to be united, God’s power to be released, our city blessed. God said to Steve “To show you that I’m in this you will gather to pray in a venue that overlooks a significant city landmark and I’ll give it to you for free. Castle heights tower block top office was vacant which overlooks the Nottingham Castle. They were offered the space to pray at 8am on Thursday once a month, and it was given for free!
So, Nottingham City Prayer started as 10-15 people praying from different churches, not everyone was a church leader. They would pray for an hour then go for breakfast.
After some time this group began to sense the spirit leading them to gather more leaders in order to discern God’s calling in city. They organised a leaders lunch with Lloyd Cooke from Stoke-on-Trent speaking. 120 church leaders from 80 churches/ministries attended from all different denominations; Greek orthodox, Black Pentecost, Lutherans and everything in between. There was a real sense of unity and purpose.
By this time the monthly prayer meeting had boomed in numbers to 60-80 people gathering. They had begun meeting in different churches across the city and a prayer movement was really growing.
6 months later another leaders was organised lunch with Billy Kennedy from Southampton speaking. They knew he would be telling the story of fostering in Southampton, where the churches had pledged to meet the local council’s need for more foster homes. Michael Lyden had recently become a foster carer and when meeting with the Fostering Manager at Nottingham City Council, the fostering manager himself told Michael the Southampton story. A team from the Council were invited to the leaders lunch. During the meeting the City Council team stood up and said they’d love to work with the church, our doors are open. This was a powerful moment.
The leaders sensed from the Spirit the need to get involved in fostering. So after meeting with the council and putting the word out to the churches to find out who was already connected and involved in fostering, 20 people came together. These were all people who were individually involved in foster caring from across the churches in Nottingham and they met together to dream and scheme for the Kingdom. After talking with council to understand the needs of the city in this area of fostering a smaller action group was formed and the 1st initiative was born.
100 Homes Campaign aims to recruit 100 homes from across Nottingham over a 3 year period.
They are seeking to Prevent, Recruit and Support. This involves raising awareness of the issues behind fostering, encouraging and equipping new foster families to come forward and serving foster carers as they provide home and family for children.
Right now they are 18 months in and have put on a series of events including myth busting Christian Q&A sessions to destroy preconceptions on fostering as a christian. They have instituted a local “Fostering Sunday” in May where they invite all churches to focus on fostering in their Sunday service, providing resources and the local press have covered the story. They have also made some high profile promotional statements, including placing 630 pairs of kids shoes on the steps of City Hall representing each child in care in Nottingham.
So far the campaign has recruited 14 new foster homes who have passed their 6 month approval and 4-5 more are in the approval process. There are lots of great stories emerging from the families who have chosen to serve the city in this way. The team are pressing on in faith that God’s in this and He will bring many more families to become foster carers.
Although they were primarily promoting fostering, the campaign is producing other fruit. Safe Families for Children charity are processing 35 new volunteers in Nottingham. The church is more aware of the needs of the city and stirring in response. Michael feels this is the 1st flurry of a city wide church social action response in Nottingham, who knows what other areas the Spirit will lead the church into in the next 5 years.
What can we pray for?
Pray for the full 100 to come in and that we’d keep faith. Keep persevering.
More opportunities are kicking off as a result of the campaign: we are creating a network of Christian foster carers in the city. As part of this we hosted a picnic for the fostering families where it was the first time most of them had met. People who are becoming fosterers are wanting to carry the campaign forward. So, please pray that we build team and build capacity to take this forward safely and solidly.
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